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May 11, 2009

Critic and author Adam Gopnik to speak at Stanford

New Yorker

What is the relation of the critic to the artist? Is it like that of a doctor to a patient—or, as bestselling author Adam Gopnik has suggested, is it more akin to "that of the bearded lady to the trapeze artist, a sadder act in the same big show"?

On Wednesday, May 13, at 7 p.m. in Cubberley Auditorium, Gopnik will give a lecture titled "Why Write About Writing? Or, How Dr. Johnson Can Save Your Life." Taking the work of 18th-century author Samuel Johnson as an exemplar, Gopnik will explore what distinguishes criticism that enlivens readers from the kind that merely deadens books.

Gopnik has been a writer for The New Yorker since 1986, contributing fiction and humor pieces, book reviews, profiles, reportage and more than 100 stories for "The Talk of the Town" and "Comment." He is the author of Paris to the Moon (2000) and Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York (2006).

Gopnik's visit is part of Stanford's Arts Critics in Residence program. A discussion with the speaker will be held at noon Thursday, May 14, at the Stanford Humanities Center.

Admission to the lecture and discussion is free and open to the public.



Cynthia Haven, News Service: (650) 724-6184,


Matthew Tiews, Humanities Center: (650) 725-0896,

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